We are delighted to welcome Pastor Jason Smith of Martha Lake Baptist Church as our guest preacher this morning.
Moses warns Israel that if they break the covenant with the Lord and continue on in unrepentant sin, that He shall remove them from the Promise Land. And more than that, they shall incur the wrath of God. But if they choose to honor the Lord and keep the covenant, they shall receive an abundance of blessing from God. Yet we know, that no one is righteous and can be justified by the law. Therefore, God in his great mercy, sent Jesus, his Son, to bear the curse for us and win us eternal blessing.
As Moses concludes expounding and applying the Decalogue to all areas of life, Israel is reminded of why they should demonstrate generosity and compassion to one another. Out of remembrance and gratitude for all God has done on their behalf, they are to honor the Lord in their dealings with one another. Having received mercy and generosity from God, they are to be merciful and generous.
The laws found in Deuteronomy 21:15-23:14 cover a wide range of specific topics and many of these laws seem quite strange to modern ears. As a result we are sometimes prone to disengage from the text. As we study these verses we will see that through these laws God was reminding Israel of His lovingkindness and holiness and through obedience to these laws Israel would reflect God's character more accurately to the peoples around them. Perhaps most importantly we will see that these laws were always pointing to Jesus: The perfect reflection of God's lovingkindness and holiness.
This morning we examine God’s continuing instructions to Israel concerning justice and judgment. Justice is a subset of a higher value, righteousness. Righteousness is demonstrated first and foremost by an unreserved love for God and it is reflected in how we treat others, especially in our respect for human life. And we see how the Israelites were the instrument of God’s judgment upon the wicked nations in Canaan. As we read of God' judgment of their sin, we should never forget that God judges all sin. And God will judge our sin. But thanks be to God, that in the gospel there is hope for sinners like us. Deuteronomy 19 takes us to the cross of Christ where we see the justice and judgment of God meet so that sinners can be reconciled to God.
Deuteronomy is Moses' final message to Israel. In our text today, Moses outlines how Israel shall receive a king and what that king will be like. Additionally, Moses encourages Israel with the news that God is going to continue to speak to Israel after he is gone. God will raise up prophets to communicate his divine revelation to the nation. Both God's instruction about a future king and a future prophet like Moses find their fulfillment in Jesus the Christ.
In God’s divine providence, our study of DT leads us to study the topic of justice. Right now, our nation is experiencing a great deal of anger and outrage as a result of injustice. Justice has been denied and it’s created a national crisis. In DT 16:18-17:13, God proclaims through Moses laws concerning the leaders of Israel and charges them to be and rule justly because God takes justice seriously. He is just. It is his character. And his people must not accept perversions of justice. Indeed, God demands that his people do justice.
God has chosen Israel to be his treasured possession and with that privilege comes a holy calling- to be a distinct people on the face of the earth for the glory of God. In the next section of Deuteronomy, Moses outlines how Israel will be set apart in the world by God so that the surrounding nations would know they are living according to a higher calling.
Moses exhorts Israel to remain faithful to the Lord after they enter the promise land. Israel's ability to continue to love and obey the Lord will be strengthened if they remember God's salvation, the outcome of those who rebelled against the Lord and if they remember and obey God's Word.
Moses goes to great lengths to reveal to the Israelite's how dependent and incapable they truly are. He wants them to see the greatness of God, but he knows of their temptation toward pride and self-dependence. He knows that these wrong attitudes will take the glory that God deserves. So, Moses contrasts one of the Israelite's most humiliating moments with God’s grace towards them with hope that they will be moved to be humble.